In many cases, a person's silence can dig him into a deeper hole than if he simply stepped forth and opened up.

Nothing feeds the rumor mill more than keeping quiet and last week, that was proven true on two occasions – the White House crashers' dinner party embarrassment, and the Tiger Woods' story.

You would think that Woods, arguably the most recognizable person on our planet, would have learned from other sports icons who refused to speak out on their indiscretions. In recent years, baseball stars like Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez – seemed to weather the scrutiny about steroid use better than guys like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. Clemens and Rodriguez may have lied through their teeth with their ridiculous stories, but at least they were brave enough to stand before the media and public scrutiny. McGwire and Sosa, meanwhile, appeared foolish at a congressional hearing in 2005 for their non-answers or to "not dwell on the past"

Last week, Woods, called the world's first billion dollar athlete, instead decided to rely on his Web site to deliver his story. The Web site delivery allowed Woods to sidestep the tough questions from hungry news reporters.

This is about as impersonal – some say cowardly – a way a person could react to his fans. And you can bet that those words on the Woods' Web site were carefully crafted through a well-paid publicist or damage-control expert.

It's true, the greatest golfer in the world doesn't owe his fans anything when it comes to his personal life. One commentator said it best by stating that what happens inside the home should be personal, but once Tiger leaves the home, he becomes a very public figure. Being in the public spotlight is one prerequisite to being the world's richest product endorser.

Had he just manned up and faced the cameras right after the embarrassing accident/domestic story broke, Woods could have easily avoided the barrage of Internet blogs and becoming the target for talk show comedians.

The other person we would like to have heard from was Desiree Rogers, the White House Social Secretary. The recent state dinner that was crashed by a pair of reality television hopefuls turned into a major joke for White House security. Just what role did Rogers and her staff have when the guests started arriving at those White House checkpoints during that state dinner?

Last week Rogers was invited, not subpoenaed, to testify during a congressional inquiry on the dinner security. She did not appear, leaving the secret service to take the hit for this White House embarrassment.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs justified Rogers' no-show at the hearings, by invoking the separation of powers.

The only thing it did was separate news reporters – and the public – from getting to the truth on that security malfunction.

By Jim Zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com